The Covid Year (and a half, maybe more)

Hey there, kiddos. It’s your old friend Shawn checking in. It has been a wild ride since last we spoke, so let me catch you up on my life.

I realize that if you’re a close friend of mine or even a social media acquaintance you may have knowledge of much of this already but at least one of you is going to read this and be like “wtf? Shawn moved?”

Hitting the Road

For a couple of years my wife Sarah and I planned a road trip. We had saved money, she figured out a way to work remotely, we bought an RV, sold all our belongings, gave up our lease, and hit the road. We left for our big road trip February 16 2020. First stop was Bristol TN where Sarah grew up and where her parents still live. We found storage for the RV and crashed in their basement for a couple of weeks, we figured it would be nice to sleep in a real bed a little bit longer. As March began it became obvious that this road trip might have to be delayed a few weeks. At this time I was still coordinating a couple of shows in the Boston area, Maggy’s Lounge and The Pourhouse. Not long after this I was told both of these bars would be closing permanently. You know what they say, “you can never go home again”, I guess that’s true.

Despite what a shit year it’s been for so many, I am lucky in a few ways and I’d like to acknowledge that before moving on to complain some more. First, I got to have a going away party before covid hit. I got to say goodbye to good friends hug people and have a good laugh together realizing that I may not see them again for a long time. I landed in a much less densely populated area but one that has more hospitals per capita than much of the country, if I want to go hiking or just for a walk in the park I’m not likely to run into many people. My in-laws are amazing and we lived in their basement for 6 months.

Buying the house

After 6 months of living with my wife’s parents we decided that we needed to get our own place. There was no end to the pandemic in sight and, as wonderful as my in-laws are, it’s nice to have your own space. So we decided to buy a house. The first house we looked at was being sold by a very sad man. He had grown up in this house, made memories in this house, but his mother had passed away recently and he needed to sell it. He should have hired a realtor to show the house. No one is going to buy your house while you’re sitting on the floor of your childhood bedroom telling the potential buyers exactly where you would play with your GI Joes.

The second house we looked at was great. We decided to put in an offer that day. We went a little below the listed price and got laughed out of the bidding as 3 other couples offered the list price or higher. Ok, lesson learned. We found another house that might work, newly renovated, on about an acre of land, but our potential neighbor had about 3 or 4 more Trump flags hanging than I was comfortable with, so we moved on to the next one. I had to tell Sarah at one point that I was not willing to move to Banjo Creek Road.

Eventually we found a house only 5 minutes from Sarah’s parents and we bought that shit real quick.

The Kid

Oh, did I neglect to mention that we are raising a baby? Yeah, so we moved into our home in August. We had no furniture for 2 months because SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES. I’m sure you’ve dealt with it if you’ve ordered anything over the past 18 months. We did some work on the house, started feeling like we could be comfortable when all of a sudden we were placed in charge of a little tiny 5lb 5oz baby. We visited this baby in the NICU everyday, we stayed up/slept at the hospital. After two weeks we brought this baby home. We were not prepared. I remember one night I spent 30 minutes just staring at nipples in Walmart thinking “what’s slow flow, what’s medium flow? Which do I get? I can’t just hand this baby a cup of milk?”. We figure most of it out as we went. All the normal stuff happened, getting pooped on, peed on, spit up on. It’s been about 10 months now and the baby is doing just fine.

Opening a Comedy Club

Once we bought a house and decided we were going to stay in Bristol Tennessee, the question was, “Where can I do comedy?”. I know that seems trivial when you look at the big picture but it’s what I did for 15 years. It was where I spent most of my time and energy and having a year off was difficult but I didn’t intend to give up comedy forever.

Turns out there is not a comedy club within 3 hours of my house. So we decided to open a club ourselves. After months of searching and securing a venue and getting permits and building the room out, we were able to open July 9th. Our opening weekend we had two sold out shows. Since then there’s been an ebb and flow to business. The biggest difference between Boston and Bristol is how many comedians there are (we have about 6-10 comics sign up for the open mic each Wednesday) and how many people there are that want to watch open mic comedy (we have 20 – 30 audience members to just watch the open mic each Wednesday).

In conclusion. I would like to invite all Boston comedians to live in Bristol Tennessee where there will be plenty of stage time. And I’d like to invite everyone in Bristol Tennessee out to watch a show at the Blue Ridge Comedy Club sometime. 620 State Street Bristol Tennessee, first floor, end of the hall.

Shawn is the owner and creator of

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